Qatar Reinsurance Company Limited (Qatar Re), the Bermuda based reinsurer of the QIC Group, has received its approvals to open a branch office in London, as it seeks expansion into the UK market.
Both the Qatar Central Bank and the UK’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) have authorised Qatar Re to carry out certain regulated activities in the UK from a branch office in London.
Michael van der Straaten will lead the London branch of Qatar Re, in addition to his current role as Chief Underwriting Officer for Long Tail and Specialty Classes of business.
Gunther Saacke, Qatar Re’s CEO, commented on the news, “We are very pleased with Qatar Re’s authorisa on in the UK. London is the leading global hub for specialty and wholesale insurance. Therefore, a local underwriting presence is almost imperative for any aspiring global reinsurer. This is particularly true for Qatar Re as proximity to our clients and brokers is one of our proven value drivers.”
The QIC Group sees the addition of a UK branch office as a key part of its global platform, adding to existing Qatar Re offices in Zurich, Singapore and Dubai. QIC also operates in the UK based through its Antares brand, which underwrites at Lloyd’s of London and through subsidiary QIC Europe Limited (QEL) based in Malta.
Khalifa Al Subaey, QIC Group President and CEO, said, “This development is an important step in the QIC Group growth strategy that was approved by the Board in 2012. The UK branch office, therefore, positions Qatar Re with an opportunity to grow its UK based portfolio in an essential reinsurance market.
Saacke also said, “For Qatar Re, Britain is a major market of growing importance. Only a few days ago, we announced the acquisition, subject to regulatory approvals, of Markerstudy Group’s Gibraltar-based insurance companies which underwrite more than 5% of the UK motor insurance market, genera ng annual premiums of about £ 750 million.”
Michael van der Straaten, the new Head of Qatar Re’s UK branch, added, “I am excited about my additional role as London branch head. Our local presence allows us to further enhance our access and offering to our UK clients and brokers. Qatar Re is looking forward to becoming an important member of the UK insurance community.”